Friday, January 25, 2013

Moments in time

This morning as we drove to work, we heard David Bowie’s new song, Where Are We Now?, on the radio. It caught my attention with its melancholy tone, and I commented to my husband that I would have loved the song immediately when I was a teenager, as I seemed to be drawn to all things sad at that time. Truth is, I loved the song immediately now too, so that tells me that I still am drawn to sadness, but in a more realistic way now than when I was younger. When I got to work, I found the recently-released video of the song on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9XsTnyN26Y&feature=share&list=FL4rKLincZWuFolZVFChzj5g. It is one of the most poignant, emotional and raw songs I have heard in a long time, and affected me in the way that such songs usually do. Got me to thinking about what he is singing about, which is his getting older and his reflections on his past. ‘A man lost in time’. But he is singing too about a moment in life and in time—‘the moment you know you know you know’--those fleeting moments when you are keenly aware of your own mortality, of time passing, when you know there is nothing you can do about it or about getting older, when you are aware of the paradoxes contained in life and thankful for them. They are moments when you are almost outside of yourself looking in—experiencing that moment when you know that you suddenly understand that you in fact understand where it’s all leading to. But he is also telling us that even though he is aware of moving toward life’s exit, he is also thankful for the sun and rain and fire—those things that tether us to daily life and which tell us that we are in fact still alive. There is hope as long as those things still exist for us. The song ends with him singing that ‘as long as there’s me, as long as there’s you’, that it will be alright, or at least as alright as it can be in the context of knowing that one day we will exit this earth. He is reminding himself that he can draw comfort from those thoughts and find the energy to go on, and hearing him sing that reminds me of the same, of the importance of love and of the support it can give us in dark times. A reasonably hopeful ending to a sad song. Art in all its many forms never ceases to amaze me, in that it shows us a way to live, a way to get through the bittersweet and dark moments that are part of life.

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